Tuesday 17 September 2019

Take Over 2019: A Madlove Take Over

An arts festival for mental health.

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Labelled as the suicide capital of England and Wales, St Helens needs some love, some Madlove…” 

Take Over is our annual festival that reimagines public spaces through art projects made with, for and about people in St Helens. For our 2019 festival, we invited artist and mental health activist the vacuum cleaner (aka James Leadbitter) to take over a vast empty shop and create a space for art, conversation and care.

From 1-30 November, the vacuum cleaner and Heart of Glass invited you to be part of a Madlove’ Take Over – an arts festival for mental health that is transforming the old St Helens Argos store on Church Street into a space for tea, chats and moments to relax. 

Together, we’re brought 13 local, national and international artists and communities together to make exhibitions, films and new performances for this pop-up space – all aimed at supporting people’s mental health. You can find out more information about what was in the space below. 

Find out more about the vacuum cleaner and the ideas behind A Madlove Take Over in this subtitled video below.


Did you join us for this autumn festival, made with and for the people of St Helens. Perhaps you explored the space and its artworks, chilled out in the bell tent or attended one of the many free events in the space?  Did you take a seat around the Together Table and enjoy a brew blended as part of the Time for Tea project or get crafty and chatty in the Care Cafe? 

You can find out more about what happened in the Madlove Take Over Space below and in this subtitled video.

#madlove #takeoversthelens

What happened in the Madlove Take Over Space?

Take Care St Helens 

A way to find special spaces and places in our town that offer support, advice and care, created by Hwa Young Jung and communities of St Helens. 

Together Table
A place to relax, hang out and share a cuppa with friends.

Time for Tea
Enjoy a free brew – a custom tea blend made by a group of Torus Housing residents from Clockface with artists Yara and Davina, in collaboration with Tony from Leaf Tea, Liverpool. More info here.

Care Cafe
Take a seat, talk with friends, or even strangers. Artist Lois Weaver and U3A St Helens invite you to gather under the awning of care. More info here.

Children’s Play Area
Watch your little ones play while you enjoy a cuppa on the Together Table.

Hana Madness – paintings
A series of colourful paintings by award-winning Indonesian artist and campaigner exploring her own experiences of mental health. More info here.

Change Grow Live – Monsters (a collaboration with Hana Madness)
A series of colourful characters made by service users from Change Grow Live, sharing stories of recovery and how we are understood by our community. More info here.

Madlove Portraits
See if you can find a familiar face in this series of portraits of St Helens folk, captured by photographer Stephen King.

Mr Men Do Psychiatry
Laugh / cry at artist / activist Dolly Sen’s mental health parody of the Mr Men series. More info here.

Software Garden
Watch and listen to this meditative music video album nurtured over two years of collaboration and workshops. Made by artist Rory Pilgrim, with a poet, a singer, a choreographer, a rapper and a disability activist. More info here.

Bell Tent
Relax in this chill out, quiet space.

The Suicide Chronicles: Chronicle One
Watch and listen as three women privilege us with access to a private world through these short films. A project by Joanne Lyne, Angela Samata, Lisa Vint with Mark Storor. More info here.

But One Day
Watch a short film about love, loss and loneliness by self-described ‘cleaner and sort of video artist’ Kim Noble. More info here.

Baby change station

Cinema / performance space
Enjoy a free film screening, or programme this space with your own events. Email info@heartofglass.org.uk with your ideas.

Heart of Glass pop up office
Come say hello and find out more about our projects as we temporarily move our office into the Madlove space.


Madlove Take Over Events  

1st November – Stand Up, Sit Down, Roll Over by Jess ThomInfo

9th November –Den Building for Grown Ups with Cathy CrossInfo

14th November (11am) – 20 Minute Suicide Prevention Training with St Helens Wellbeing Service – booking not required – Info.

15th November – Software Garden performance and talk with Rory Pilgrim, Robyn Haddon and Carol R. KellandInfo

21st November  (1-3pm) Kitty’s Mix n Match: Open Mic – Info

21st November – Kitty’s Pick n’ Mix Performance Night with Kitty O’SheaInfo

22nd November (5pm) – 20 Minute Suicide Prevention Training with St Helens Wellbeing Service – booking not required – Info.

23rd November (12-4pm) – Screen-print your own Care Map of St Helens tea towel to take home with artist Kate Hodgson – drop-in – suitable for 5+years, children must be accompanied by an adult.

27th November (1-4pm) – Hana Madness monster making art workshop – drop-in – suitable for 5+years, children must be accompanied by an adult.

28th November (5-7pm) – Screening: The Stranger on the Bridge documentary + Q&A with Jonny Benjamin MBE book tickets.

29th November – How Can We Do This Better? with the vacuum cleaner, James Leadbitter – Info


You can read about access in the space here

You can find a map of the venue’s location here.

Safer Spaces 

You can find our Safer Spaces Policy here.

A Madlove Take Over is curated and produced by Heart of Glass, the vacuum cleaner and Mary Osborn (Artsadmin) with the support and collaboration of individuals, organisations and communities across St Helens. The Madlove environment is designed and produced by Sascha Gilmour and the vacuum cleaner’s team. 

Supported by  Arts Council England, Creative People and Places, The Hardshaw Shopping Centre, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, The National Organising Committee for Indonesia as Market Focus Country at the 2019 London Book Fair, Bethlem Gallery, Mental Health and Justice, Wellcome Trust, British Council. 

Special thanks to Change Grow Live (CGL), Torus Foundation, Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SoBS) St Helens, St Helens University of the Third Age (U3A), The Hardshaw Shopping Centre, Inglenook Farm, Reverend Janet Ashton and to all of the artists involved 
in this year’s festival. 


Samaritans: 116123 A safe place for you to talk anytime (24h, free).

Papyrus: 0800 068 41 41 Prevention of Young Suicide (free & confidential).

AMPARO: 0330 088 9255 Support for anyone affected by suspected or actual suicide.

Shout: text 85258 The UK’s first text support for anyone in crises, anywhere, anytime.


Suicide Prevention Available on Google Play and Apple App Store now.

Stay Alive App Packed full of useful information and tools to help you stay safe in a crisis.

Calm Harm App Tasks, information & support to help you resist the urge to self-harm.